Just 24 hours after Amir Khan called out current UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor, the two-weight boxing world champion took to social media and with the UFC championship belt hoisted over his shoulder cheekly proclaimed, “UFC training has started.”
While many believe this to be purely a publicity stunt by Team Khan, much like the Mayweather vs. McGregor saga which ran for months earlier this year, let’s take a look at some facts that could make Khan vs. McGregor far more likely than any Mayweather bout.
Mayweather is 39 whereas Khan is only 29 – the same age Holly Holm was when she made her MMA debut – so he has time on his hands. He’s still in his physical prime and can put in the time to prepare for a MMA fight. Mayweather is already coming up to a year of inactivity and is just getting older. This week Khan said he could stop what he’s doing and train for a full year to prepare for a MMA fight which also demonstrates his apparent willingness to put in the time for any potential crossover fight.
Mayweather was adamant that a fight between the two would have to be contested in a boxing match. Khan is prepared to leave the boxing ring and enter the UFC’s Octagon and fight under MMA rules, thus entering McGregor’s world, something Mayweather was unprepared to do.
Mayweather competes under his own ‘Mayweather Promotions’ banner which has it’s on TV deals. And as we know, the UFC doesn’t go into business with anyone. With Khan stating he’d be willing to fight in the UFC, that ticks yet another box which make this fantasy fight a potential reality. All it would take is a call to Dana White and new owners WME-IMG and negotiate a deal.
Boxing vs. MMA
We’ve been here before at UFC 118 when Randy Couture vs. James Tony featured as the co-main event. Couture eaisly took down the then 41-year-old Tony and submitted him via arm-triangle choke in the first round. The difference here is Khan would be fighting McGregor, just one year his junior at 28, with both athletes in their physical prime.
Yes UFC has crossed over into the mainstream more than ever with crossover stars such as Ronda Rousey, Paige VanZant and Conor, however the spectacle of a UFC world champion vs. a genuine world class boxer in Khan would certainly bring the sports and entertainment world to a standstill. At a time when a pro wrestler with zero MMA and professional combat sports experience in CM Punk will be featured in the main card of UFC 203, why not bring in one of the best boxers in the world to fight one of the best MMA fighters in the world?